West Coast
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CA - One in Five LA County Properties at Risk of Flooding in Next 30 Years

The city of Los Angeles is currently experiencing drought conditions, but over the next 30 years, an increasing number of L.A. County properties are at risk of flooding.

October 31, 2016

Twenty percent of L.A. properties could flood within the next 30 years, with each at-risk property incurring an average annual loss of $10,444, according to a new assessment from the First Street Foundation.

What You Need To Know

  • According to a new assessment, one in five properties in L.A. County could flood within the next 30 years
  • By 2051, each property at risk of flooding in California will incur an average annual loss of $10,444
  • The First Street Foundation's Flood Factor tool calculates the current and future flood risk for individual properties, including damage cost estimates
  • Most flooding in the county is caused by extreme rainfall

The nonprofit research group found that 132,046 properties are already at risk of flooding in L.A. County — a number that will grow 1.3% in 15 years and 2.6% in 30 years, as global warming causes weather patterns to change and bring stronger storms.

While sea level rise is a major contributor to flooding on the East and Gulf Coasts, the majority of flooding in the L.A. area is driven by rainfall and flash-flood “events that occur in 1-in-100-year or 1-in-500-year storms, as opposed to some consistent precipitation events,” said Dr. Jeremy Porter, First Street’s head of research and development.

“Precipitation patterns themselves are not increasing over the next 30 years,” he added. “Instead, we’re seeing extreme rainfall events becoming more commonplace.”

That extreme rainfall is more likely to flood areas further away from the coast, most notably areas near small waterways and tributaries that then overflow.

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